Wisdom teeth removal has become sort of a rite of passage for many adolescents and young adults. Quite a few older individuals also undergo this procedure. Still, you may wonder exactly what the wisdom teeth are and whether it is truly necessary to remove them. On this page, you learn the answers to those questions. You will also discover how the team at Family Dental Practice of Newington performs wisdom teeth extractions.
The wisdom teeth are the third set of molars at the very back of the mouth. Most individuals have four wisdom teeth, one in each quadrant of the mouth. However, some people have more or fewer than that. The wisdom teeth get their name from the fact that they develop much later than all of the other teeth, usually when a person is in their late teens or early 20s — when they are older and “wiser” than they were in childhood.
The prevailing theory among scientists about why we have wisdom teeth relates to the diet of our ancient ancestors. They may have needed more teeth in order to properly chew a variety of rough foods. As generations have passed and food processing techniques have evolved, the wisdom teeth have become unnecessary.
Not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed. For most individuals, however, their mouths are simply too small to accommodate a third set of molars. Therefore, their wisdom teeth may get stuck fully or partially beneath the gum line. Or, the teeth may erupt at an odd angle. Such issues can lead to a number of oral health complications, including:
When you visit us for routine checkups, we will keep an eye on your wisdom teeth. If we notice that they are causing problems, or we believe they may do so in the future, we will recommend extractions. Some patients choose to have their wisdom teeth removed as a purely precautionary measure.
We use both anesthesia and sedation to make our patients as comfortable throughout their treatment. During the extraction procedure, we may need to create an incision in the gums and/or break the wisdom teeth into pieces in order to remove them with as little damage to the surrounding tissue as possible. After the teeth are out, we close the incision.
Following your procedure, you should eat soft foods and avoid vigorous activity for several days. It is also important that you temporarily avoid straws because the suction action could disturb the blood clots at the extraction sites. You are encouraged to contact us if you experience any unusual pain or have other concerns during your recovery. Most patients are able to resume their normal eating habits and everyday activities within 7 – 10 days after their procedure.